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History: Finding Books

Basic search tips and strategies for history students

Search Dugan Library

Look for books and videos in Dugan Library!

Searching for Books in Dugan Library

LC Call Numbers

Sample Subject Headings

Wording for subject headings can be tricky!


  • United States History Revolution, 1775-1783 NOT American Revolution
  • World War, 1939-1945 NOT World War II


  • Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865
  • Caesar, Julius
  • Elizabeth I, Queen of England, 1533-1603


  • Arlington National Cemetery (Arlington, Va.)
  • Colosseum (Rome, Italy)

Search Tips

  • Use a ‘browse’ search to a specific title or author
  • Keyword searches are a great way to start
  • It’s always a good idea to physically browse a subject area and look at the books
  • The majority of the library books are in the general collection, but we have many special collections (Cardinal Newman Collection, Reference, Juvenile, Thesis, Videos and more)
  • Special collections are shelved separately from the general collection
  • If you can’t find a book on the shelf, be sure to ask a library worker for help!

WorldCat Discovery

Search WorldCat to discover books not owned by our library.  You can submit a request to borrow items from other libraries.  This is a free service for NU students.

The video above reviews how to request a book from another library.

Where to Browse

A large portion of the library and LC subject classification system deal with history related topics. These are just a few examples.  Please ask for help with more specific browsing locations.

C is the call number range for Auxiliary Sciences of History

  • CB--History of Civilization

D is the call number range for World History

  • DA--Great Britain
  • DS--Asia

E is the call number range for US History

  • E 186-199--Colonial History (1607-1775)
  • E 895-904--21st Century

F is the call number range for US State History, Canada & Latin America

  • F 676-690--Kansas History
  • F 1001-1145.2--Canada History
  • F 1421-1440--Central America History (Belize, Costa Rica, etc.)

G is the call number range for Geography

  • G--Geography (General), Atlases, Maps
  • GB--Physical Geography

These books are located on the 2nd floor of the library!

Library of Congress Subject Classification

A General Works
B Philosophy, Psychology, Religion
C Archeology, Genealogy
D History: General, World
E-F History: Western Hemisphere
G Geography, Anthropology
H Social Sciences
J Political Science
K Law
L Education
M Music
N Fine Arts
P Language & Literature
Q Science
R Medicine
S Agriculture
T Technology
U Military Science
V Naval Science
Z Library Science


Once you find a book you're interested in, be sure to examine the books nearby.  You might find something valuable that didn't turn up in your catalog search!